Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Published May 3, 2024
longhaired orange tabby cat standing on a kitchen countertop and licking his lips

Adobe Stock/jakubzak

While not every cat will jump onto the counter for a taste of sweet potato, it’s not uncommon for curious kitties to take an interest in your dinner plate. But can cats eat sweet potatoes safely?

Can Cats Have Sweet Potatoes?

The short and simple answer is yes, cats can eat sweet potatoes. But should they eat them? That’s a little more complicated.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have difficulty getting adequate nutrition from food that isn’t meat-based. Cats are also not designed to digest carbohydrates very well, and the potato family in general contains quite a lot of carbs. So the nuanced answer is that while sweet potatoes are not toxic to cats, they are also not particularly good for them.

In fact, many cats that dare to share your sweet potato dish will go on to experience some abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea. So although you won’t poison your kitty by sharing a bite or two of a sweet potato, you may not entirely enjoy the aftermath.

Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Cats can also eat small amounts of cooked, peeled plain potatoes. Emphasis on cooked—raw potatoes have a toxic compound in them called solanine. However, solanine loses its toxicity when the potato is cooked. Solanine is not present in sweet potatoes.

Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato Pie?

Unlike plain, unflavored sweet potato, sweet potato pie should never be shared with your cat. Sweet potato pie contains many ingredients that are not at all healthy for your cat, and some of the spices (such as clove and allspice) can even be toxic to kitties. Sugary treats like marshmallows, a common sweet potato pie topping, are also on the no-no list.

How Much Sweet Potato Can Cats Eat?

If your kitty seems particularly fond of these spuds, offer just a small amount—really just a bite or two—of completely plain, peeled, cooked, unflavored sweet potato.

Remember that spices such as garlic and onion can be toxic to cats, and fatty and/or oily foods like butter can upset their digestive tract.

If your kitty eats a bite or two of unflavored sweet potato and you don’t see any gastrointestinal upset within 48 hours following the treat, it’s safe to spoon up to 1/2 tablespoon of sweet potato once or twice per week into their food bowl.

Remember that too much sweet potato will be difficult for your cat to digest, and the carb content can actually contribute to obesity over time.

Other Foods To Feed Your Cat

While there are cat-safe fruits and vegetables you can offer your kitty, cats crave meats. This makes the following delicious (and nutritious!) treats for your feline friend:

When prepared plain and to human consumption standards, these are healthy snacks you can feed to your kitty—and you’ll know that you’re adding nutrition as well as love into their diet.

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...

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